/ Racing

Al Kazeem heads field for high-quality Eclipse Stakes

Updated: Thursday, 04 Jul 2013 16:25 | Comments

Al Kazeem (near side)will face two of the rivals he defeated at Royal Ascot, including Mukhadram (far side)
Al Kazeem (near side)will face two of the rivals he defeated at Royal Ascot, including Mukhadram (far side)

Roger Charlton's Al Kazeem will face six rivals as he goes in search of a third successive victory at the highest level in Saturday's Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

The five-year-old has won his last four races, landing the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket on his only run last year, the Gordon Richards Stakes on his return to action this season, the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh and the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Those last two successes came with triple Classic winner Camelot in behind, but he skips this assignment, with trainer Aidan O'Brien taking Al Kazeem on with two new challengers.

Mars will represent the Classic generation having run with credit in the Guineas and the Derby. He will be ridden by Ryan Moore.

Stable jockey Joseph O'Brien will ride Declaration Of War, who only emerged as a serious contender for this on Wednesday. He was an impressive winner of the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and steps back up in trip.

Al Kazeem just reeled in the William Haggas-trained Mukhadram at Ascot, who benefited from what was widely acknowledged as a fine front-running ride by Paul Hanagan. He is again likely to adopt positive tactics for the rematch this weekend.

Some four lengths behind that pair was John Gosden's filly The Fugue, who was having her first run of the season. She is expected to strip much fitter but no filly has won this contest since Kooyonga in 1992.

German challenger Pastorius adds further spice having won the Prix Ganay earlier in the season and Clive Brittain's Miblish completes the septet.

Charlton has been delighted with Al Kazeem since his Ascot win, which will only have been 17 days previous come Saturday, but he feels all the signs at home are that his charge has recovered well from his exertions.

"I've been very pleased with him. You can never tell when a horse has had a tough race as to how quickly they will recover, it is not an exact science," he told At The Races.

"But all the outward signs are very encouraging and we are aided by the fact he is a terrifically good eater. He gets fed at 6am, 9am, 12pm, 6pm and 9pm at night.

"He always eats, he looks well and is fresh. I watched him do a breeze, he looks happy and enthusiastic and he's moving well."

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